The Partial Solar Eclipse Tuesday 25 October 2022

































Avebury Manor - The National Trust

Credit: Damian Ohara - the view from Brinkworth

Tuesday, 25 October, 2022, the eagerly anticipated partial eclipse of the sun was initially mared by extensive cloud cover, however, breaks in the cloud did appear and this resulted in some spectacular views of the partial eclipse.

A cloudy view from Highworth - Credit: Paul Newton-Smith

First contact Avebury- Credit: Peter Chappell

Full partial Avebury - Credit: Peter Chappell
Viewing Log by Peter Chappell
I arrived at the National Trust staff car park at Avebury around 9:30 and saw Rob and Viv Slack and Robin and Hilary Wilkey (all from Swindon Stargazers) unloading their cars with the equipment they would be using for the event. After doing several trips moving my equipment from the car to a bench seat, we had a look at were to set up for the eclipse. A large tree to the south of the museum would block part of the eclipse, so it was suggested we set up on the grass well back from the buildings and trees. After a few minutes we decided it would be too wet under foot staying on the grass and the public might miss us? I decided I would move all of my equipment to an area just outside the lavatories, this would be out of the way of the offending tree! I was the only one to move, the others decided to stay put near the benches. I had everything set up and ready by 10:00 with the eclipse due to start around 10:09? To take photo’s I would be using my Canon 70D camera attached to a Tamron 150-600 mm zoom lens (set at 600 mm using manual focus and auto settings with flash off) on a Manfrotto tripod with a Seymour solar filter (white light) on the front of the lens.

To do visual, I would be using a 60 mm Solarscope (658 nm wavelength) giving an orange view of the Sun (excellent views for sunspots, prominences and filaments on the surface of the Sun) on a Porta Mount I and a 80 mm William’s Optic refractor telescope with an Altair Herschel Wedge and Baader solar Continuum filter (540 nm wavelength) giving a green view of the Sun (excellent for sunspots) on a Porta Mount II. Trouble was, a lot of cloud had built up over the last 30 minutes and viewing could be a problem? I would be using an Orion Explorer II zoom eye piece for both of these telescopes. There was a few groups of sunspots on the surface of which AR 3126 and 3131 were bigger than the Earth!

Avebury - Credit: Hilary Wilkey

First view I noticed of the eclipse (probably about a minute after actual first contact due to the thick cloud?) with the WO telescope and moved to the camera to start taking pictures of the event, while being near the toilets, a few people started taking an interest and had a few questions for me to answer plus moving the telescopes slightly to keep them on track with the Sun movement across the sky (none of my gear had power, all hand moved). After about 20 minutes I decided to re-join the group down at the benches, by now, the Sun had cleared the tall tree but the cloud was still a factor to deal with, to the north of us I could see blue sky in places! Any cloud and the Solarscope would be useless as it is the most filtered telescope I have, can only be used for viewing the Sun and nothing else! The WO with the wedge could see thru some cloud, so I had to use that quite a lot of the time and take photos with the Canon when the Sun popped out of the clouds.

Over the course of the eclipse which lasted nearly two hours we had a lot of interest from the general public, showing children the actual eclipse was the hardest part for me as I had to adjust the prism to such a position they look thru the eye piece and then readjust the prism for adults! Viv was busy handing out the flyers for the club as there was an interest in the club (hopefully the odd new member might come forward after this outing?). At times I could do with a few extra arms as I had to keep adjusting all of the equipment to keep the Sun in view of the eye pieces and camera, time went by very quickly for me.

By midday, the eclipse was over, so we packed up all of our equipment and went to the Red Lion for a drink afterwards, thanks to Rob for my lager.

Next partial eclipse in this country if you might be interest will not happen until March 2025 with the next total solar eclipse happening in 2090, might miss that one!

Peter Chappell

Peter Chappell at Avebury with his telescopes - Credit: Hilary Wilkey
With grateful thanks to the National Trust for their hospitality and support
Credit: Rob Slack